Head in the Clouds – Buyer Confusion for Cloud Backup?
There was a time, long ago, when data backup took the best part of an afternoon and the murmuring hum of ancient servers was equalled only by the clicking whir of magnetic tape. But those days a long-gone and with the availability of cloud storage on the increase, data backup has never been easier. At least, for those who know about it.
According to a recent survey of North American technology-based companies by Network Computing, around 75% of participants aren’t using cloud services for their backup needs. Although around 26% of those have online data backup as part of their storage plans for the following year, this leaves a remarkably low number of businesses that currently use cloud technology – especially considering its increasing in popularity among home users in the past few years.
Too Many Options?
Kurt Marko, author of the Network Computing report, explains that while cloud storage began as a collection of relatively simple storage options (such as Windows Live SkyDrive), the market has since “splintered into a multitude of product categories targeting a diverse set of IT needs." He goes on to explain that it’s this diversification that has inevitably led to buyer confusion.
For newcomers to the world of cloud storage, the number of options can be simply baffling – especially for small businesses who may not have technical experts on hand to provide advice. Marko explains that it has become increasingly important to discern between bulk cloud storage which is used as a platform and storage as a central part of a cloud service. "The former might be used as an alternative to off-site tape when integrated into an existing archive process or as the online data repository for distributed applications," whereas he goes on to suggest that a cloud backup service could replace a business’s backup infrastructure entirely. It’s this difference that can be confusing to first-time cloud users, and it’s important to get it right first time – as with any computing technology, a mistake could prove to be a costly one.
Which Cloud Service Should I Use?
One of the main reasons that businesses are adopting cloud services is because of their relatively low costs. Compared to traditional data backup and storage infrastructures, the cost of subscription to such services is relatively small. When you take into consideration the sheer amount of equipment and personnel needed to backup large volumes of data, you can see why the switch to cloud services makes so much sense. But with a plethora of services catering to different needs at varying prices, it can feel like you’re navigating a technological minefield.
Thankfully, there’s a handy cloud storage buyer’s guide available from Information Week which walks you through the most popular cloud solutions and exactly what they offer. This guide looks at the main competitors over the three main market sectors - raw storage, back/archiving and file sharing – and offers advice on which ones will suit your particular needs. An excellent primer for businesses looking to take the plunge, the Information Week Buyers Guide should help you make that important decision. If you're still puzzled by the world of cloud-backup, here's a handy reminder of 9 Considerations When Choosing Your Backup Solution for Virtual Infrastructures.